Lady Titans come up short at Holiday Tournament

01/06/2011 12:17

Team loses first game but wins next two

Alan K. Fox

 Jordan Brunetti  (bottom) and the Lady Titans train in the LCC weight room in preparation for another season.
Media Credit: Eugene Johnson
Jordan Brunetti (bottom) and the Lady Titans train in the LCC weight room in preparation for another season.

The Lady Titans traveled to Salem to play in the Chemeketa Holiday Classic on Dec. 28-30. The team lost in the first round to Yakima Valley by 22 points but was able to bounce back and win the following two games.

Sophomore forward Ashley Smith led the way for the Lady Titans throughout the tournament and had a double-double in all three games. Smith is also the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges' leading scorer.

"Ashley Smith had a very solid tournament as she scored 87 points over the three games, and increased her NWAACC leading scoring average 24 points a game for the season," head coach Greg Sheley said.

In the opening game, the Lady Titans (10-2) fell behind 10 points and only shot 26 percent from the field going into halftime.

LCC was able to improve its shooting percentage in the second half and was able to close the lead to 10 points with 12 minutes remaining in the game. Yakima then went on an 8-0 run, closing any hope for a comeback for the Titans. LCC lost to the Yaks 87-65.

"I feel like we weren't too ready for the first game. We knew what to expect but didn't know how to handle it," Smith said. "I feel like we learned a lot as a team from that game."

Ashley Smith scored 28 points and added 12 rebounds against Yakima.

"We were definitely disappointed with starting off the tournament with a bad loss to Yakima," sophomore point guard Susan Smith said. "We didn't come out ready to play, but luckily we turned that around and played much better against Lower Columbia."

In the second game of the tournament, LCC was matched up with Lower Columbia (5-4). The Lady Titans bounced back from their second loss of the season by beating the Red Devils, 97-80.

The Lady Titans scored 61 points in the first half and played a great defensive strategy. LCC entered halftime up 61-28.

Sophomore guard Brittany May had six of the team's eight three-pointers in the first half.

The second half was much of the same with LCC clinching a 97-80 victory over Lower Columbia.

The Lady Titans finished with five players scoring in double figures, including Ashley Smith who finished with a game-high 31 points.

Susan Smith, who went out in the second half with an ankle injury, had 14 assists and eight rebounds.

Sophomore forward Andrea Anderson also left the game with an ankle injury in the second half.

In the third and final consolation game of the Holiday Classic, LCC was matched-up with Highline (4-6) and the Titans earned their 10th victory of the season, 71-67.

The Lady Titans entered the game with only seven healthy players.

The game remained a back-and-forth before the Lady Titans were able to earn a 13-point lead in the second half. The Thunderbirds were able to tie the game back up in the last three minutes of the game. Ashley Smith converted a three-point play to put LCC ahead for good. She also scored 28 points and added another 12 rebounds in the game.

"The Chemeketa tourney didn't go as we planned," Sheley said. "We were hoping for a better finish and ended up surviving the tourney with only seven healthy players."

The players remained positive and upbeat after losing their second game of the season.

"We are one of the top teams in the Northwest. We just need to figure out how to play like it," Anderson said. "The Chemeketa tournament was a pretty bold-faced example of all the things we need to improve on when we face teams that are as good as we are."

The Lady Titans return to the court on Jan. 8 when they play their first home game of the season and host Linn-Benton. The Titans have a record 80-game winning streak riding on the game. Tip-off will be at 4 p.m.